Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Actions no surprise
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The editors of America’s most prestigious newspapers pronounce
themselves flabbergasted by the Bush administration’s corrupt and
nakedly partisan machinations at the Department of Justice. As well they
should. Hiring and firing U.S. attorneys according to their willingness
to use the criminal justice system to follow a party line shocks the
conscience of anybody committed to the Constitution and the rule of law.
Some of us wonder why it’s taken them so long to grasp the obvious.
Because last time around, The New York Times and Washington Post were
urging them on. Prosecuting federal crimes from political corruption and
bank fraud to terrorism, U.S. attorneys wield enormous discretionary
power. As the Times explains in a stinging editorial, “they can wiretap
people’s homes, seize property and put people in jail for life. They can
destroy businesses, and affect the outcomes of elections. It has always
been understood that although they are appointed by a president, usually
from his own party, once in office they must operate in a nonpartisan
way, and be insulated from outside pressures.”

Indeed, the revelation that an inexperienced ideologue like Monica
Goodling, the GOP apparatchik who testifies before Congress this week,
was given authority by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to draw up hit
lists of U.S. attorneys unwilling to pursue meritless voting fraud
charges against Democrats strikes at the essence of democracy. The
Times’ editors won’t be satisfied until the incompetent toady Gonzales
is forced from office.

Funny, because when Kenneth Starr and his Merry Men subjected the state
of Arkansas to a six-year inquisition, Beltway thinkers treated him as
an untouchable. Those of us who objected were scorned as “Clinton
apologists,” and worse. Begging for leaks out of Starr’s office like
dogs at the dinner table, the national press became prosecutorial press

Ancient history? Maybe so. The Arkansas experience constitutes a vivid
illustration of all that can go wrong when law enforcement becomes a
partisan cudgel. Not everybody, see, could afford top-dollar legal
representation, nor enjoyed the protections of White House celebrity.

Starr’s prosecutors, several of whom Bush has appointed to federal
judgeships and other posts, knew they couldn’t bring anything but an
airtight case against the president and first lady. That wasn’t true of
anybody else in Arkansas, even then-Gov. Jim Guy Tucker. Hundreds of
ordinary citizens—bankers, loan officers, real estate appraisers,
surveyors, tax lawyers, accountants, college professors, secretaries—got
swept into the ever-expanding “Whitewater” investigation. For them, it
wasn’t quite like living in America.

Virtually the entire case depended upon one David Hale, a con man
indicted by Little Rock’s Democratic U.S. attorney for embezzling over
$2 million from the Small Business Administration. Caught red-handed,
Hale began spinning wild fables about every prominent person in Arkansas
he’d ever done business with and some, like the Clintons, he hadn’t.
Many were Republicans, none of whom Starr’s prosecutors ever touched.

A jury convicted Tucker of bank fraud, based upon a loan document Hale
prepared that there was no evidence Tucker ever saw. After pleading
guilty to a second charge for health reasons (liver transplant), Tucker
finally got a look at the formal charges: as he’d suspected, Starr’s
prosecutors had indicted him using an expired tax law. Too late, Jim
Guy. His appeals went nowhere in the partisan 8th Circuit Court.

Remember Susan McDougal in chains? She swore Starr put her in a perjury
trap: demanding she confirm Hale and her ex-husband Jim McDougal’s
cockamamie tales. Kept in solitary for most of two years, she was
acquitted of obstructing justice after a jury heard McDougal and several
other witnesses testify that prosecutors pressured them for false

A Little Rock municipal judge named Bill Watt got tagged an “unindicted
coconspirator” for refusing to confirm Hale’s tall tales about Bill
Clinton. Although he’d provided prosecutors with documentary evidence
he’d severed his relationship with Hale and alerted the SBA to his
crimes, the allegation cost Watt his job, his reputation and pension. A
scrapper, Watt later presented his case to the Arkansas Judicial
Discipline and Disability Commission and was fully reinstated to the
bar—the only formal reversal in that agency’s history. I could cite a
dozen similar examples. Starr’s team investigated not crimes, but
people. They ransacked ordinary citizens ’ lives investigating tall
tales no competent U.S. attorney would waste resources on. Meanwhile,
any skeptical observer who read the transcripts and studied the
documents could confidently predict Whitewater would come to nothing. So
naturally GOP hardliners thought they could turn the Department of
Justice into a partisan tool. The last time they did so, Beltway pundits


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